Mangrove Jack Report:
Mangrove Jack are one of the most aggressive predatory species in the estuaries and with Barramundi off the cards in the salt, we have plenty of people making enquiries about how to catch these angry red fish. In this article, we will be touching on tips and techniques along with the location and best bite times. As many of you may know, here in-store we are all passionate about this species and between us have many years of knowledge and experience chasing Mangrove Jack.
Mangrove Jack are very aggressive yet they can be quite picky. That means you should always keep an open mind whilst targeting them. If they aren’t biting a change of lures or bait can often trigger a fish to bite.
Mangrove jack can be found in a host of different areas, from rock bars to mangrove roots and even up on shallow sand and gravel along with manmade structures. Jacks are opportunist feeders, so you will often find them hiding behind a rock or clump of root system waiting in an eddy out of the flow to ambush bait as it moves past. There is plenty of spots to target them all around the Gladstone region, especially now coming into summer.
Early morning offers excellent surface fishing opportunities and if you haven’t caught one on topwater you really need to do so. For those of you that have you will be shaking now just thinking about it. This is the most exhilarating way to target Mangrove Jack, often causing big explosions where you will find yourself winning or losing the battle within the first few seconds. Different types of surface can be effective on any given day, so it pays to have a range including walk the dog style, poppers, and fizzers. There is always the age-old debate whether to pause your surface lure or not, and there is no right or wrong answer to this. It has to do with the fish and how they are feeding on the day, along with what they are feeding on. So I recommend finding what works and sticking with it.
Although Mangrove Jack can be caught on surface lures all day long, as the sun gets higher in the sky it can be very effective to change profiles and start using a hard body lure or soft plastic. There are many options of hard bodies on the market, but it pays to use a suspending one anywhere from 60-100mm in whatever depth that suits the structure you are targeting. For example, the Lucky Craft pointer 78xd is a perfect lure fished around deeper rock bars and mangrove edges, whereas a Rapala Slashbait 10 is better suited for shallow rock, gravel and snag lined banks.
A huge selection of Lucky Craft Pointers
When using soft plastics, it pays to have a variety of jig heads as you need to get that plastic as close as you can to the strike zone. The advantage of fishing a plastic is that you can rig them weedless and plug them into areas where no other lure will go without getting snagged.
Skip casting is a rather new style of fishing here in Australia and proving very effective on Mangrove Jack. Along with a standard flat retrieve and hopping them along the bottom, all these techniques are proven to catch fish.
These estuary brawlers can also be targeted on live baits during the day as well as at night especially around a full moon where there is plenty of movement in the water and they are actively feeding. The best baits for Mangrove Jack include Herring, Gar, Mullet, and Prawns and they can be caught on both fresh and live baits depending on the mood of the fish.
There is no better time of year to head out and target Mangrove Jack then now. So come down, grab some lures and chat to the boys and you will be hooking into some Jacks in no time.
Cheers, from the crew at Tackleworld Gladstone.